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How much does a horn replacement cost?
The horn is a device that is used for many reasons, most often for reasons other than those it is actually designed for. Some drivers think it is a device to be sounded when driving away from a friends house or to blast people at traffic lights.
The horn is actually a warning device which, by law, is only allowed to be used to warn other road users or animals of the vehicles approach and possible imminent danger. It can be used in conjunction with an anti-theft device or alcohol ignition interlock. A road vehicle must be equipped with a functioning horn and it should not be used for anything other than its stipulated purpose, otherwise you could be fined.
The horn activation point, or switch, is on the steering wheel. Since it is a warning device to be used only in an emergency situation it is within easy reach and is very quick to activate. It only takes a second to strike the steering wheel. The actual horn warning sound comes from the front of the vehicle, which is where the horn is found.
The horn device is typically located around the radiator or at the front of the car behind the front grille. It is positioned to the front of the car so it is at its loudest for the people or animals in front of the vehicle that are in danger of being struck.
What is a horn?
When the horn switch is pressed in the cabin it activates a relay which allows power to flow to the horn. On modern vehicles, it generates a beep sound as the warning. There will be at least one horn per vehicle though some cars have two horns that emit different frequencies, or notes, as this is more obvious in a noisy environment. The exterior of a horn can be small enough to fit in the palm of the hand and they are usually made of plastic and/or metal. A horn will produce around 109-112 decibels of sound.
Inside the horn’s casing, when the horn switch is activated, the horn circuit closes and an electromagnet coil receives power and becomes energised. This magnet attracts a plunger towards it which is also attached to the horn's diaphragm. The motion of the plunger moving towards the electromagnet opens the circuit again forcing the plunger to rebound back to its original position. When the plunger rebounds back it closes the circuit again, it continues this back and forth rapid tango until the horn switch is released.
The plunger’s rapid back and forth movement flexes and vibrates the diaphragm, creating the sound you hear when pressing the horn switch on the steering wheel.
Symptoms the horn need replacing
- No noise coming from the horn
- Horn is faint and not to the required volume
How is a horn replaced?
- Locate the horn
- Remove any accessories or panels that may impede access to the horn
- Unclip the electrical connector attached to the horn
- Unbolt the horn
- Compare the old horn with the new one to make sure they are the same.
- Fit new horn and bolt in place
- Clip in the electrical connector
- Refit any accessories or panels removed to access horn
- Test horn function
Tips to remember
If your horn is continually making noise then it is more likely an issue with an electrical relay, a faulty horn switch or a wiring problem than the actual horn itself.
Only use your horn for emergency situations.
Most mechanics will test the horn as part of a service. Ask your mechanic if they have tested the horn so you know it is functioning correctly.
How important is replacing the horn?
A working warning device on a vehicle is a requirement. You never know when it may be needed - you might need to shoo some cows off the road on your next country drive. If your horn is sounding hoarse then best get it replaced as soon as possible.